Metal shop buildings & steel workshop kits

Design ideas, price guides & buying tips

Pre-engineered workshop kits are ideal for commercial auto maintenance, body shops, personal workspaces, artists' studios, and farm repair shops.

Some advantages of metal workshop buildings include design flexibility, durability, and economy. All our buildings are custom-manufactured in the USA & Canada to your specifications.

Prefab autoshop building
Commercial workshop building
Made in USA
Solid Steel
30 Yr Warranty
Custom Engineered

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What is a prefab building kit?

Metal shop building packages are pre-engineered at the factory with solid steel I-beam framing and commercial-grade metal siding and roofing panels. Kits are custom-made to your specifications and engineered to meet (or exceed) your local building codes. These are NOT flimsy tubular buildings - all kit packages sold by our suppliers are built to last from American-made steel and will add value to your property.

INSTALLED PRICE FROM: $25 - $45 per square foot

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Why choose 'Red Iron' steel buildings?

American-made, I-Beam steel framing, custom-engineered in factories across North America.

A critical point for any workshop, commercial or personal, is the 100% usable, clear-span interior.

Steel buildings are incredibly durable. They are engineered to meet your local codes for wind, snow, and seismic loads. Manufacturers also offer structural and paint warranties of up to 30 years.

Precision engineerred steel buildings ensure your workshop fits together without a hitch the first time. The easy bolt-together installation enables fast deployment for DIY or contractor builds.

Another big plus of steel buildings is that you can expand for future growth, remove the end wall sheeting, pour a new slab, and add an additional 20 or 25-foot bay (or bays). Be sure to order 'expandable end walls' if this is a possibility.

Popular sizes provide varying square footage for storage, work areas, and vehicle storage. Larger structures add an office, a bathroom, or even a mezzanine for additional second-floor storage. Our suppliers work with you to ensure you get exactly the workshop you want.

A secure, flexible & low-maintenance solution

  • Fast build time to occupancy
  • Economical construction
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Engineered to local codes
  • Reduced fire risk
  • Warranties of 30yrs+
  • Easily customized
  • 100% clear span interiors
  • Custom made to your specs
  • Easy expansion, for future growth

What's included in a steel building package?

Each kit includes pre-engineered primary steel I-beams and secondary framing, pre-painted metal roofing, and siding with framed openings to meet your specific access requirements. Detailed plans and assembly instructions for the steel building are also included. You receive the building the way YOU want it, customized for your particular needs and desired style.

  • What's included

    Building packages include:

    • Steel I-Beam framing
    • Steel roof & wall panels (26ga)
    • Complete trim package
    • Two framed door openings
    • Foundation anchor bolt plans
    • Engineer stamped plans
    • Building kit delivery
    • Installation instructions
    • All bolts, flashing & sealants

    Framing for Pre-Engineered Structure
    I-beam steel framing
  • Features

    Benefit from:

    • Bolt-up construction
    • Trussless roof design
    • Clearspan widths to 300'
    • Certified to 160 MPH wind
    • Certified to 110 PSF snow
    • 30+ year warranty
    • Fast, free delivery
    • Fast build times

  • Customization

    Custom options:

    Doors - Choose from overhead, rollup, sliding or bifold door options.

    Roof profile & pitch - Adjust the gable roof pitch or select a single-slope, gambrel, or monitor profile.

    Insulation - Opt for vinyl-faced fiberglass, spray foam, or insulated metal panels (IMPs).

    Structural upgrades - Add porches, overhangs, a carport lean-to, or a mezzanine for loft storage.

  • Exclusions

    Items not included:

    • Permits
    • Foundation
    • Installation
    • Insulation
    • Interior build out

The Construction Process

Red iron building - build process

Build process

  • Step 1: Planning

    Identify your needs

    Planning for all aspects of its present and future use is essential to ensure a successful build. This includes taking into account how the workspace will be used, what products and services it will offer, and how it will accommodate future growth. The last thing you want is to work in cramped conditions, thinking, "I only wish I'd..."

    Good planning now can save a lot of grief in the future. First, take a complete inventory of what you intend to store and work on, including vehicles, parts, supplies, machinery, and any additional storage. Machinery and vehicles will ideally require a 4’ clearance all around to be safely and comfortably worked on.

     

    Go as big as you can afford and try to anticipate future requirements. When was the last time you heard someone say, “that shop of mine is way too big”?

     

    What size should I build?

    This will depend greatly on your intended usage.

    Step 1: Take a detailed inventory of what will be stored in the workshop now and down the road.

    Step 2: Plan your layout with graph paper (using a scale of one square = 5 feet) and place scaled cutouts of your main pieces of machinery and equipment to get an idea of what will suit your particular setup.

    Step 3: Calculate the area requirements from Step 2 and add 20%.

    Also, use our floor plan maker tool to get an idea of the space you need.

    Consider standard sizes: The most popular kit packages (by far) are the 40x60 building and the 30x40 workshop. For a hobby, woodworking, or auto shop (for maintaining one or two vehicles), a 30x50 metal shop will generally provide an adequate floor space.

    Steel building packages are available in sizes from 30'x40' to 100’x100’. Standard widths increase in 10' increments, and lengths are unlimited.

    Also, see our sample garages for inspiration.

     

    Other shop size considerations include:

    • How much area will be required for the storage of parts and supplies?
    • How many bays (either 20’ or 25’ wide) will be required?
    • What access height do you need for vehicles and machinery?
    • How many 4’ wide workbenches will you need?
    • Will you require a half bathroom? If so, allow approx. 25 sq ft.
    • Will you require an office area? If so, allow approx. 80-120 sq ft.
    • Will you require room for a compressor, dedicated welding area, parts washer, spray booth, breakroom, or waiting room?
    • Will a dust collection system be used?
    • Will you add a mezzanine loft for additional storage? If so, your eave height will need to be 16’, 18’, or 20’.
    • Do you need a steel building with living quarters? If so, see our shop houses section for suggested layouts.
    • For those constructing a ‘ManCave,’ allow room for a couch, pool table, TV, bar, fridge, etc.

     

    Popular commercial shop sizes

    • Typical sizes for small to medium-sized commercial storage buildings, including auto & body shops, include a 30x50 or a 40x60 (for servicing/maintaining 2-4 vehicles). Vehicles to be worked on will require approximately 4’ all around, so allow 330 sq ft for cars and 420 sq ft for trucks.
    • Most woodworking shops are approximately 30x40 in size, partitioned into a primary work/project area, a finishing area, a utility room, and a lumber storage area.
    • Farm workshops for maintaining agricultural machinery are typically 60x60 or 50x100, depending on the size and type of machinery to be maintained.

     

    TIP: Go with what you can afford now. You can always extend your building by adding additional 20’ or 25’ bays in the future. If this is a possibility, be sure to request 'expandable end walls' when placing your order.

     

    What height do you need?

    Steel building height is measured at the eave, and door openings require a 2’ clearance between the top of the door and the eave. Most mechanic shops will require a minimum door height of 12’ to accommodate car lifts, giving a recommended eave height of 14’, and for oversized vehicles, choose an eave height of 16’. A minimum eave height of 18’ or 20’ is recommended for farm shops. For structures with a mezzanine second level, choose a building eave height of 20’ or 22’.

     

    How many framed openings?

    Personnel and overhead door openings each require a framed opening. You will need to decide how many framed openings you need and their size.

    framed opening for pre-engineered (red iron) building

    Do I need a building permit for the structure?

    Some rural and farm properties are exempt, but most new builds require a building permit. Once you've chosen a site and size for your steel-framed building, contact your local building department to start the process and verify if a permit is required. The more details you can provide about the build, the easier and faster the process will be.

    For further details, see our page on building permits and codes.

    Our suppliers ensure that your building is engineered to meet or exceed local codes for wind, snow, and seismic conditions throughout the United States and Canada.

    If you require financing…

    Several options are available for financing; see our steel building financing page for more details.

    See our planning your build page for a more in-depth look at this process.

     

  • Step 2: Design

    The base steel building package will cover most people's needs, but a wide range of options allows you to get the look you want to meet YOUR specific requirements. Detailed below are some of the more popular customization options:

     

    Choose a metal workshop roof style & pitch

    Most buyers chose a gable roof profile. Pitches are usually between 1:12 and 4:12. Steeper pitches are available but require special engineering. The simple lines of a shed (single slope) roof are also popular for many commercial builds. These have a pitch of either 1:12 or 2:12.

    For more, see our metal roofs page.

    metal building roof pitch illustration

    40x60 metal warehouse building 30x50 four car garage
    1:12 Gable
    1.5:12 Single Slope

     

    40x60 metal barn with gambrel roof 40x60 monitor style metal home
    Gambrel 40x60 Barn
    Monitor

     

    Roof Style
    Available Pitches
    Gable 1:12 to 4:12 *
    Single slope (shed roof) 1:12 or 2:12
    Gambrel (Dutch barn) Upper roof 2:12-3:12
    Lower roof 5:12-6:12
    Monitor - (American barn) Upper roof: 4:12 - 6:12
    Lower roof: 3:12 - 5:12

    * steeper pitches are available but require special engineering


    Pick custom options

    Color: Choose over twenty standard colors for your siding, roofing, trim, and wainscot to complement your existing structures or match your company brand or personal style.

    Doors: Choose from sectional or roll-up overhead options. Pick sizes and styles that work for your access requirements.

    Siding: Kit packages come standard with 26-gauge PBR metal siding. You can replace this with other materials, including Hardie board, stucco, or faux stone.

    Structural: Add a lean-to for additional covered outdoor storage or a mezzanine for second-level storage. Also, roof overhangs or covered porches should be added.

    TIP - consider placing windows 7’ off the floor; this way, you will maximize wall surface and prevent prying eyes from looking in.

    For more, see our page on customizing a metal building.

  • Step 3: Ordering

    Compare metal building price quotes

    When you are happy with your chosen size, style, layout, and design, the next step is to get quotes. This is where we can assist with your project. Provide some details about your requirements in our quote request form. We will match you with the FOUR most suitable, vetted suppliers, who will provide competing quotes for your steel building kit package.

    Choosing the right supplier is crucial in getting your workshop built. Here's a breakdown of the key steps involved:

    1. Placing a Deposit: To secure your position with the manufacturer and kickstart the engineering process for your custom building, you'll typically need to put down a deposit upfront. This deposit is usually 20% and 30% of the total price.

    2. Signing a Contract: After placing the deposit, you'll solidify the agreement with the supplier by signing a formal contract. This contract should clearly outline all the project details, including:

      • Specifications: This covers your workshop's precise design, materials, and dimensions.
      • Timeline: This sets the expected timeframe for the completion of your order.
      • Payment Terms: This details the payment schedule, including any remaining installments after the deposit.

    Once the contract is signed, the factory can begin the engineering and fabrication process. Finally, you will receive a set of building and foundation plans (typically 2-3 weeks later). These plans will be stamped by an engineer licensed for your state. Some suppliers charge extra for foundation plans, so be sure to ask before you finalize your purchase.

    Armed with your shop building engineering plans, you can get quotes from local subcontractors or a general contractor to erect your building. You can also approach your local building department, begin the permit process, and talk to lenders if you require financing.

  • Step 4: Pre-construction

    Site preparation

    Before you can break ground, careful site preparation is critical. Many factors need to be considered, including setbacks and easements, existing utilities and access routes, and the ability of the ground to support the building. In addition, proper compacting and grading are essential for ensuring a stable foundation. Finally, don't forget to pull permits and run services to the job site before you start construction. Read more about construction site preparation.

     

    Pour the concrete slab foundation

    Your new shop will require a slab-on-grade foundation. The foundation is your responsibility; note that the foundation and anchor bolts are not included in the package. It will cost anywhere from $4 to $8 per square foot.

    In order to obtain the proper permits and to ensure that your steel building is code-compliant, you will need to hire a local, licensed structural engineer to design the foundation plan.

    Unless you have substantial foundation installation knowledge, we strongly recommend that you have the foundation poured by a professional crew. A 4-inch slab will work for most small shops; however, if you plan to use the room to store heavy equipment or install a car lift, you will need a 6-inch foundation.

    You may also want to consider installing in-floor heating before the foundation is poured. Additionally, you will need to install wastewater drains (typically a trench drain or square bell trap).

    NOTE. We strongly recommend that a professional concrete company install the foundation if you don't have prior experience.

    Illustration for Steel Building Slab Foundations with Haunch Design

    For more, here's our guide to metal building foundations.

     

  • Step 5: Construction

    Delivery

    Your building will be delivered somewhere between 1 and 4 months after ordering. You’ll need lifting equipment at the site to offload the framing and sheeting components and a place to store everything safely and out of the elements. The final balance of payment will generally be due on delivery. Read our guide to what to expect and how to prep for delivery.

     

    Construction options

    Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Build: All buildings from our suppliers have detailed plans and instructions. Construction is easier than you might think. For smaller-sized buildings (up to 3,000 sq ft), approximately 30% of buyers choose DIY. You will take care of permitting, pouring the foundation, erecting the structure, installing wiring, plumbing, insulation, and all interior finishing. 

    Self Build: You act as the project's general contractor (GC). You hire and manage the various subcontractors needed for the foundation, building erection, finishing, etc. This option will save you the GC fees (10-20% of the project expenditure).

    General Contractor (GC) Build: You enlist a GC to hire and manage all subcontractors. This route is the most costly option and best suited for those without construction experience if you require a short build time or for large commercial buildings. GCs typically charge 10-20% of the project price, but their knowledge and ideas can significantly benefit the project.

    Their experience may also equate to a faster permit approval process, as many GCs have long-standing relationships with local building departments and inspectors.

    Metal Building Construction Project

    For additional details, see our guide to metal building construction.

  • Step 6: Finishing

    Insulation options

    Good quality insulation is a must in most locations for improved energy efficiency and comfort while working inside. In addition, the investment will yield worthwhile energy cost savings over the long term. Most owners choose either spray foam insulation or fiberglass blanket. Insulation also helps prevent condensation and reduce noise levels.

    For more details, read our guide to metal building foundations.


    Interior framing

    Many steel buildings are a single area, open from wall to wall. Interior framing can easily be added for an office, bathroom, dedicated storage area, second floor, or mezzanine loft.


    Wiring, plumbing, and flooring

    You will engage the appropriate local subcontractors to finish the interior, i.e., framing, wiring, lighting, heating, plumbing, insulation, and flooring.

    electrical outlets inside a metal building


    Walkthrough and final inspection

    Your permit will not be considered complete until you have passed all necessary inspections. To avoid problems, it is advisable to have inspections performed throughout the construction process. Once you have passed the final inspection, the inspector will provide you with a certificate of occupancy.

    For further details, see our page on finishing a metal building interior.

How much does it cost to build a shop?

The average installed cost to build a shop ranges from $25 to $45 per square foot. Prices vary widely, with a small 30x40 workshop costing around $35,000 to a large 8,000 sq ft commercial auto shop, with multiple bays and offices costing over $400,000.

Final expenditures vary depending on the location of the job site, local labor rates, and the complexity of the building's design. Please use our quote request form for accurate written quotes from four competing suppliers or for a quick metal building price estimate; see our metal building prices page.

Item Square foot cost
Building kit $15-$25
Concrete slab $4-$8
Construction $5-$10
Interior finishing $10-$50+

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2 bay

Two bay steel workshop
Credit: Web Steel Buildings NW

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the best size for a mechanic shop?

    There's no one-size-fits-all answer for the best size, but it depends on several factors for a n auto commercial building:

    Your Services: Are you specializing in repairs, restoration or a mixture of both? If you focus on larger vehicles like trucks or SUVs, you'll need wider bays (typically 10' wide).

    Number of Work Bays: How many cars do you plan on working on simultaneously? A typical bay for a standard car should be at least 12ft x 25ft to allow for movement around the vehicle.

    Storage Needs: What area qill be required for parts, shop supplies etc?

    Customer Waiting Area & Office: Will you have a waiting room for customers? Do you need a dedicated office?

    Typical sizes can be broken down as follows:

    Small Shop (2-3 bays): A 30ft x 60ft is a good starting point for a small auto shop, ideal for working on a few cars at a time.

    Medium Shop (4-6 bays): As your business grows, you might consider a 40ft x 80ft building to comfortably accommodate more work bays and storage.

    Large Shop (8+ bays): Bigger shops can be 100ft x 100ft or even larger, with dedicated areas for specialized services like body repair ansd spray booths etc.

    Other considerations:

    1. Bay spacing - Standard metal building bays are either 25' or 30' wide so plan these accordingly based on the required number of vehicle bays and door sizes to be used.

    2. Height - You must allow 2' of clearance from the top of the framed opening to the eave height. So, for a 10' door height, you will need to specify a 12' building height.

  • What is the cheapest insulation for a shop?

    Fiberglass batt insulation is the most cost-effective insulation option for most shop buildings. It is widely available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to install. The basic R-13 single-layer fiberglass insulation system can cost around $0.50 per square foot, while a higher R-30 double-layer system may cost up to $1.50 per square foot.

  • Is it cheaper to build a metal or wood workshop?

    In general, steel metal buildings will be cheaper to build than a wood shop on a per square foot basis.

    Here's a breakdown:

    Material cost: Steel buildings typically cost $15-$25 per square foot, while wood buildings run $20-$35 per square foot.

    Construction time: Metal frame buildings can go up much faster than wooden ones, reducing labor costs.

    Long-term maintenance: Metal requires minimal maintenance compared to wood, which may need repainting or other upkeep over time.

    Overall, metal offers a lower upfront cost and requires less maintenance in the long run. Wood may be a better choice if you prioritize customization or have a specific aesthetic in mind.

Why choose us?

BuildingsGuide simplifies the process of finding reputable suppliers of prefab metal buildings, allowing you to select the ideal vendor for your needs and budget.

Since 2004, over 200K buyers have saved an average of 28% on their project with our multiple quote service.

Proudly serving customers in the United States & Canada for over 20 years.

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